Call Center Analytics
Call center analytics refers to the collection, evaluation and interpretation of the data and information a call center collects, that can then be used to better serve and understand customers.
Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the serious, so let’s look back at some of our funniest stories. Wild, 10+ hour customer experience calls, dissatisfied customers completely destroying brick-and-mortar stores, customer service terrorists going on multi-social channel rants — these are just some of our most shockingly true and amusing stories, and we hope you agree. They just have to make you laugh (what else can you do). Do you have a customer experience story or an outlandish customer comment that is laugh-out-loud ridiculous like those below? Tweet us @crmetrics and tell us all about it!
- Man destroys T-Mobile store with fire extinguisher - In Manchester, England a T-Mobile customer learned he would not get a refund. He chose not to take his case to social media, instead he destroyed the store and used a fire extinguisher to spray the place. Continue reading “Customer Relationship Metrics’ Most Comical Contact Center Stories” »
The only effective way to capture the Voice of the Customer (VoC) is through post-call IVR surveys, where results are able to tap into the genuine experiences customers have with a product or service. The knowledge shared by the customer, and thereby gained and analyzed by the company, can lead to powerful change for the future improvement of the business. When executed well, post-call IVR surveys are the single greatest tool at determining customer pain and propelling businesses toward positive customer experience process improvement.
Most call center managers can agree that post-call IVR surveying is important, but many surveys fail in practice, first with the types of questions asked, and second with the length of the survey. Remember our discussion of market researchers versus customer experience analysts? Continue reading “Post-call IVR surveys: the key to call center process improvement” »
Aside from a knowledgeable, agent-friendly, capable leader at the helm of your call center, what else goes into designing the ideal prototype for a call center manager?
You need someone with savvy business acumen to navigate through the ever-changing business landscape. Think about the best boss you’ve ever had: did s/he have the expertise to confidently handle any and all issues that came their way because of an intimate knowledge of the business and all of its functions? Call center technology is constantly changing and the perfect call center leader stays on top of the trends and is not afraid to be out of their comfort zone. What is the competition doing? What do your customers demand? What social customer service channels would best serve your customers’ needs? Continue reading “Designing the perfect call center manager – The next phase.” »
As you look around the office at your coworkers out there in the cubicle farm, do you ever find yourself wondering how you ended up in your chair? Do you think you have anything in common with them? What brought you all to the call center industry? It has to be some kind of gravitational pull into a career in service because you didn’t wake up one morning when you were 17 and say “I’m going to college so I can be a manager and then an executive in a call center.” Continue reading “Your parents put you in the call center” »
I have recently overheard discussions around creative ways to improve a company’s customer satisfaction ratings from their External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology. “How can we break that 95%+ glass ceiling in customer satisfaction ratings?” “Why couldn’t the agent ask the customer at the end of each call if they have done enough for them to give them a top box rating?” Sure, it sounds straightforward. In theory, the agent would know before they hung up if they had provided the level of customer service and answered the questions that the customer wanted them to or if they needed to do more before ending the call. They could fix the problem right then and there, right? If only it were that simple. While this concept sounds like an uncomplicated fix – ask and you shall receive – it may be anything but. “Be careful what you wish for” might be more applicable to this scenario than anyone realizes. Continue reading “Are you earning that high post-call survey score?” »
When is enough, enough? During these lean economic times companies, like many households, are trying to do more with less. At what point does all of that scrimping and saving end up costing the company more? Let’s take head count and span of control for instance. In our example company, the External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology shows that customers are happy with the current span of control ratio of approximately 15:1. The customers are not delighted, but not necessarily discontent. What if the management team of this company decides that ‘happy’ is the new ‘delighted’ and decides to tweak the span of control slightly in an attempt to reduce costs even more? If the company increases team size, they would be able to eliminate a supervisor position. They could simply function the same way they currently do when a supervisor is on vacation. Customers don’t notice vacation days so they won’t notice this, right? Continue reading “Scrimping in the call center can cost you” »
Voice of the Customer; a catch phrase commonly uttered in offices around the globe. But what does it mean exactly? Where does it come from? How does a business decipher constructive (and valuable) feedback from noise? It is not uncommon to hear a manager say that you need to listen to the voice of the customer (VOC), but often that’s where the initiative stops. Proclaiming the need to listen and actually listening are two very different things. So is acting on the information heard.
One of our clients focused on turning such a proclamation into action and made some changes to the internal processes causing customer dissatisfaction. The External Quality Monitoring program using a post-call survey methodology revealed that only 51.6% of their callers stated that their question or problem had been resolved on the first call. With barely more than one out of every two calls yielding a resolution, FCR was obviously an extremely costly issue for them because repeat calls have direct and indirect costs. It was definitely time to take action.
Customer experience analytics clarified a common theme from the callers who reported that their issue had not been resolved on the call. Callers frequently stated that they had to call back to check on the status of the application because the agent they had spoken with did not have a way to check. “Wait and see and call back” is not a good answer for these callers. How can this information about an issue that increases the customer effort be alleviated within the internal process(es)? After taking a hard look at the outcome of this internal process from the customers’ perspective, a strategy was developed to dedicate a specific team of representatives to support the call center agents behind the scenes. Frontline agents could not have access to the needed information but this support team had the resources to review a caller’s application, claim and status. The agent can now provide the information needed to the caller upon request and eliminate the need for many customer repeat calls. Continue reading “All you have to do is listen to your customers.” »
- Short-term cost-cutting hurts long-term growth.
- New technologies making new skills necessary for call center employees.
- Corporate arrogance hampering growth.
- Unnecessarily difficult relationships with vendors and partners.
- Challenges in translating big data to usable information.
The good news is, all of these issues can be overcome. To see how your organization measures up, check out the full article, “5 Landmines for CRM Professionals to Avoid in 2012.”
Let me know if you’ve encountered any of these issues, or if you think I missed any!
Holistic medicine is a big picture view – the emotional, physical, psychological and environmental factors that contribute to a patient’s overall health. Without considering all of these factors, a doctor may only solve part of the affliction without completely healing the patient. In your call center, the agents lacking a holistic view of a customer’s history may only solve part of the customer’s problem but not rectify the entire issue.
Think about how information in your company is heavily siloed by department which dictates that your call center agents have access to some of the customer’s history and information but not a holistic view of their entire interaction/relationship with the company. As we discussed last week, when Big Data is put to work in the right way it greatly benefits your customers and your brand. But when marketing, sales, online and other departments generate, collect and evaluate customer data but do not share it with the call center, the power of Big Data is undermined.
Your customers already think you are the master of Big Data, right? How often do you hear, ‘why can’t you see that on your screen? ’ Customers get frustrated and call center agents fail when the customer intelligence data available is incomplete or not readily accessible to them during a call. It’s also easier to misdiagnose a customer problem, miss an up-sell or cross-sell opportunity, or even lose a customer if the agents are limited to a single view of that customer. Think about the times you’ve called about a product or service issue and how much better your customer experience would have been had they offered to upgrade your service because they could see your contract was about to expire. Or gave you a discount on a related product because they had access to your spending patterns. Or could see that you spend most of your time shopping online through their web site and then tweeting about your purchases, so you were informed about their Twitter service handle to use the next time. Continue reading “Holistic medicine for your call center; look at the whole customer experience.” »
The weekend before Thanksgiving, I competed in my very first body-building competition. Between stage appearances, eating hourly meals and making sure my Oompa Loompa-like tan was intact, the customer-service lessons were hard to miss.
1. Forget agent to supervisor ratios. You need expediters. If you’ve never been backstage at a body-building competition, imagine a large room filled with free-weights, (tan) spraying tents, and fans leading to numerous dressing rooms—all connected by a fine mist of spray tan, Pam oil, hairspray and spray glue, amidst the chaos of dozens of competitors pumping up in preparation for their time on stage. Part of the chaos was likely due to the fact that this was my first show. Some competitors had the process down to a science. I think I even caught one competitor on a yoga mat catching a few moments of Zen. But the clear breaks in the chaos were the expediters, like bright beacons of knowledge and organization. The sole purpose of the expediters was to keep the competitors on track with the flow of the competition, make sure they were in the staging area when needed, and on stage when scheduled. And while there were only three of them (compared to over 90 competitors, plus coaches, trainers and helpers backstage), they seemed to be everywhere and have the answers to every question. If you can’t describe your call center supervisors the same way, you need to re-examine your supervisor selection and training process.
2. It’s all about relationships. When you think about any competition that involves any degree of primping, you probably think you need to keep your finger on the record button of your flipcam so you don’t miss the impending cat fight. Instead, what you would have found were male competitors spotting each other in the pump-up room, women helping each other with make-up and glue, and competitors joking with the MC while on stage. If, as a manager, you can’t recall the last time you genuinely laughed with an agent or left working thinking, “We accomplished a lot today, but we had fun doing it!” your call center is at severe risk for agent burn-out. Continue reading “Six Lessons body-building can teach you about customer experiences.” »
Guidelines and talking points sound different to customers than do call-controlling scripts. A call center agent who sounds like an advocate or advisor because they naturally converse (what they are told to say), deliver a better customer experience. With your effort to help agents connect with the caller or to control the content of the call, your scripts easily become a cause of poor customer experiences.
You know that being a call center agent is extremely difficult. Were you aware that multitasking is close to impossible for human beings to do? Did you know that with each additional task added to the basic task of listening, efficiency and effectiveness degrade? Add the need to say specific things during the call to the list of tasks that have already decimated the ability to perform and what do you get? Well, you get call center agents who sound like idiots (and robots) because they resort to reading the script and not one who is thinking about what the caller is saying. As far as your customers are concerned, you have engineered intelligence, common sense, and human emotion right out the door.
Your customer experience and/or speech analytics can help to identify agents who are desensitized due to over scripting. If you are only doing traditional quality monitoring then you are not actually listening what your customers are saying. Here are some examples of what you could hear: Continue reading “Do your call scripts make call center agents better or dumb?” »
For the first time some stores got a jump on ‘Black Friday’ by opening on Thursday evening (Thanksgiving). After the leftovers from the turkey dinner were put away, I decided to venture out to see how this plan was going to work. What was I thinking?!?
Did you assume that the expansion of the Black Friday deals was due to the massive demand for goods on the biggest shopping day of the year? Was this a solution to lessen the pressure on their sales staff as well as the wait time for eager buyers? Was this an event that would improve the customer experience?
There were still long lines and delays (who saw that coming?) and I was met with disgruntled staff members that were long on attitude and short on customer service. Naturally I’m wondering about the cost to get these so-called deals. If this was the store’s attempt to create a better customer service experience by opening early, I’d say that it backfired. The loyal Black Friday shoppers were now flooding the stores the night before to avoid the risk of a picked over selection come early Friday morning. And don’t forget the sales staff which was equally overwhelmed at the sheer volume of customers and chaos, not to mention pulling an all-nighter while fighting the effects of tryptophan. How will this madness in the retail stores affect the call center customer experience? Continue reading “Was this an attempt to improve the Black Friday customer experience or not?” »
I think more than anything where we fail in customer service, both in the call center and out, is the follow-up. We put great importance on the quick fix, to speedily get the caller off the phone to address the next caller in queue. We’re worried about call volume and first-call resolution and other metrics. The truth is, some problems aren’t resolved quickly, and require additional research to resolve them completely. That’s where we fall short in customer service; following up with the customer to keep them in the loop.
For many companies significant costs are experienced due to poor follow up practices while also damaging the customer experience. To me, it’s like what we see played out on Wall Street today. Most of the effort is placed into meeting my shareholder expectations today (handling the call) while blind to future impacts (profitable, long customer relationships).
We’ve talked recently about the spike in customer product repairs vs. replacements and the resulting call volume to your call center. Have you also thought about the additional agent time required to access and understand how to apply the warranty and repair agreements, the time it takes to follow up about a repair and to communicate the progress (or lack thereof) with a customer? Continue reading “Is your call center short-term focused and long-term blind like Wall Street?” »
In baseball as in business, some of the greatest success stories lie with the individuals that thought outside the box. In the movie Moneyball, we find Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), the General Manager that famously made the Oakland A’s one of the most cost-efficient and winning teams out there. Beane did not have the large media market dollars to pay for big name players. In order to win, Beane had to learn how to do more with less. For Beane to be successful, it took a different perspective, skill and art than what was being used by all of Major League Baseball at the time. Beane looked at the game from a data-driven perspective and the acquisition of players in a new way. Beane famously said, “Almost like a car salesman, if a guy walks onto the lot and a salesman qualifies him on how he is dressed he may miss out on a hell of a sale. We try to open our mind and say it’s not about perception or what you think you see.”
In baseball, he had old perceptions fighting against him along the way. But Beane never stopped when people told him, “We’ve always done it this way.” or “Everybody else is doing it like this.” Nor did he stray when confronted with history; that managing a baseball team had been done the same way for over 50 years. Beane knew if he continued managing the same way and making the same decisions, he could never turn a losing ball club into a winner.
As you look within your own business and specifically in your call center, are you being courageous against the perceptions and people that refuse to think beyond common practices? Or are you applying analytics to make better decisions like Beane did? I am always amazed with the employee and customer-driven innovations, and customer insights, that are uncovered through call center analytics. Some innovators are applying these insights to improve company profits and competitive advantages, but most sit on the bench.
Many organizations use NetPromoter scores (NPS) in their call centers and report their scores on a regular basis. But for Beane the common collection and reporting process would not be good enough. Beane wanted to apply the information to his decision-making process and in order to do so, he needed to understand what exactly whats causing the increases or decreases in promoters and detractors. He also needed to know the reasons for the indifferent people in the middle. Beane would want to conduct NPS Analytics so he could do more with what he already has, or do more with less.
While it is very common practice to do customer satisfaction surveys or customer experience surveys in call centers, what you should be asking yourself is, “Are you doing it like everyone else?” If you are, then you are not different than everyone else. For Billy Beane and many of you that means you will be a loser in this highly competitive and commoditized world in which we live. If you play that game then you will always loose out to the competitors with larger budgets. It’s a numbers game; are you being smarter with your numbers?
Do you want to learn more about improving NetPromoter performance? This no-charge on-demand webinar shows you the methods used by one call center that resulted in more than a 100% improvement in NPS scores. Get access to this improving NetPromoter webinar here.
Recently, I walked into my classroom for the upcoming term and braced myself for the exasperating questions that seemingly every class insists on asking: “Will you be sending out lecture notes after class?”, “will this be on the test?”, and “why do I have to take this [any variation of math] class?” The answers to which are “Ha ha, ha ha, ha ha,” “maybe” and “because you may want to choose to work in the fast food industry, because I’m guessing you’d prefer your Thunderbird T-top to rest on tires and not blocks, because maybe someday you’d like to have tires on your car but not on your house.” But, this time around I was pleasantly surprised. A student’s question about the merit of using paper and pencil (and whiteboard) to do math in a world of ever-accelerating computational speed led to a discussion of the priorities businesses place on subject-matter expertise versus technological skill.
The unfortunate reality is that many well-intentioned businesses spend millions of dollars each year on good, even great, tools designed to make their businesses more efficient and provide greater visibility into the inner-workings of the business. They spend time and money making a business case for the purchase, calculating the product’s ROI, payback period, etc. Unfortunately what is often lacking is the subject-matter expertise required to make good on the ROI projections. Continue reading “Tips to prevent creating your own contact center analytics shelfware.” »